Agence France-Presse has claimed to be the first agency to secure pictures of Muammar Gaddafi after he was captured in Sirte on Thursday.
The photo was originally taken in Sirte by a rebel fighter using a mobile phone. AFP photographer Philippe Desmazes was able to take a photo of the mobile’s screen a few minutes later and transmit the picture.
‘I was covering the fall of Sirte and heard gunfire a little further west of where I was,’said Desmazes.
‘The rebels explained to us that Gaddafi’s men had tried to break out at night a little further west. There had been fighting but this sounded more like celebrations than fighting.
‘So I asked the fighters to take me there. When I got there, they showed me big concrete cylinders in which they said Gaddafi had been hiding when he was captured.
‘A little further on, I noticed some fighters gathered around a phone. I was lucky because I was the only one to notice them.
‘The owner of the phone showed me the arrest of Gaddafi which he had filmed a few minutes earlier. Given the ambient light, it was very difficult to take a screen grab. The fighters gathered round and gave me enough shadow to take the shot. I was really lucky.”
AFP news director Philippe Massonnet said the scoop symbolised AFP’s ‘uninterrupted presence in Libya since February, the strength of our operation, and the courage of the agency’s journalists”.